29 March 2015 | 7.30pm | Common House | Free
La Noire de … / Black Girl, 1966 (60 mins)
Directed by Ousmane Sembene
+ (short) Peppa Pig: Miss Rabbit’s Day Off
The first image of Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl (1966, France/Senegal) is a highly relevant one: a large white cruise ship slices across a small French harbor, its horn bellowing to announce its arrival. The large Western ship is a loaded image in diasporic studies; it is a symbol of power and majesty, the mass movement of peoples, and control of geographic space by Western civilizations. It is also symbolic of the slavery and oppression that was shuttled around the world on such ships over the past millennium. This particular ship bears the black girl of the title, Diouana, who has arrived from her hometown of Dakar, Senegal. As she exits the ship, she wonders, “Will someone be there for me?” The spare title sequence – no music and white block lettering – announces the film title: La noire de.., or, The black girl of… In speaking about the black diaspora, the original title poetically signals the confusion, separation, and dislocation that is a part of the movement of people from one place to another. Diouana, the “black girl,” is both ambiguously “of” someone and “of” someplace, but the exact people or places to which she belongs are left vague. Ousemane Sembène was possibly the most famous African filmmaker, and La noire de… is often credited as being the first Sub-Saharan African feature film, or at the very least the first to gain any kind of international recognition.
Introduction at Senses of Cinema